Appalachian will host the UNCG Spartans on Sunday afternoon in a battle of two teams heading opposite directions. Appalachian is 5-1 in conference play while Greensboro is winless in conference action and have only won three games on the season overall. All of the games Greensboro has won this season have been at home, over Gardner-Webb, North Carolina Central and Norfolk State. The Spartans have lost six games in a row, none by less than 11 points. The Spartans have yet to score 70 points in a game this season.
Greensboro is being outscored by 17.4 points per game in conference play, but have played a couple of the conference heavyweights in Chattanooga, Samford and Elon. Greensboro’s leading scorer is freshman Lucy Mason, who is one of two Spartans to start every game. Mason is putting up 15.1 points per game. Janae’ Stevenson adds 10.8 points per game. In the past, Greensboro has always been a very athletic team, but sometimes, they get in their own way. Appalachian usually can force their game on the Spartans and capitalize on turnovers and fast break points.
Appalachian leads the conference in scoring offense at 72.2 points per game, while trailing only Chattanooga in scoring margin at +14 points per game. The Mountaineers also lead the conference in free throw percentage and field goal percentage while ranking third in field goal percentage defense. One thing the Mountaineers must focus on against Greensboro is the offensive boards. Charleston dominated the offensive glass on Friday Night, but Appalachian defended well enough to keep the Cougars at bay. Greensboro is second only to Charleston in offensive rebounds in conference play. We are sure the Mountaineers will focus at home, crash the boards, and run the break when they can.
Greensboro put up a good fight early on, but ran out of gas against Appalachian on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans ran out to a quick 18-9 lead at the 11:21 mark of the first half before Darcie Vincent finally called a timeout to regroup. Defensive adjustments were made, and the Mountaineers outscored Greensboro 28-13 for the remainder of the half, led by Farrahn Wood who knocked down a trio of three pointers over a span of four and a half minutes. The Mountaineers led by six points at halftime with Wood leading all scorers with nine points.
The second half saw Appalachian double their lead from six to twelve in just 2:21 and the lead slowly grew throughout the second half. Darcie Vincent was able to empty the bench in the closing minutes as the lead swelled over twenty points. Freshman Bria Huffman easily had her best game as a Mountaineer with eleven points in thirteen minutes of action. For the game, Anna Freeman led the Mountaineers in scoring with 18 points while adding seven rebounds and five steals. Raven Gary had a great overall game with nine points, ten assists and five rebounds. Maryah Sydnor had a another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
We are a little concerned with the number of three pointers Appalachian attempted on Sunday. They were 5/23, the most attempts since the loss to Davidson. Anna Freeman missed all five of her attempts, while Katie Mallow connected on just one of her six attempts. Appalachian (12-3, 6-1), now has thirteen games remaining before the conference tournament, and their toughest stretch of games are directly in front of them. This week provides their longest stretch since December between games. The next five games will set things up before the final weeks of the season. Appalachian will face Chattanooga and Samford on the road, before hosting Elon, hitting the road against Georgia Southern, and then returning home for the rematch with Davidson. That stretch includes four of the top teams in the conference and a visit to Statesboro, where the Mountaineers never seem to play well.